7.4.2022 – something more abstract

something more abstract
more compelling – America
lost faith in itself

Adapted from the book, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream (Copyright © 1976, 1991) by Doris Kearns Goodwin and a passage dealing with the USA after the Kennedy assassination.

Ms. Goodwin writes that in November, 1963;

The people of America responded to the news of Kennedy’s assassination and the continuing televised reports of every subsequent happening with a state of shock that went beyond mourning to something approaching melancholia, a serious collapse of self-esteem. With the assassination, something more than a man had been lost, something more abstract and more compelling – a part of America’s faith in itself as a good society.

The line, something more than a man had been lost, something more abstract and more compelling – a part of America’s faith in itself as a good society, hit me.

America’s faith in itself as a good society.

I admit much of that faith was a hypocrisy.

But it was a useful hypocrisy.

Recent political turmoil over, well, politics and Covid and any number of other issues of late have ripped the scab off the hypocrisy and left folks, not wondering if we have lost a part of America’s faith in itself as a good society but now QUESTIONING even if America was, is or can be, a good society.

I like to think that Mr. Lincoln was right when he said the United States was, “… the last best hope of earth.”

Maybe Mr. Lincoln is right, its just that the bar to being recognized as the last best hope of earth was a lot lower than I ever thought.

Again, the passage quoted from Ms. Godwin is about the United States after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Lyndon Johnson took over as President.

5 Days after Kennedy was murdered, LBJ spoke to Congress and the Country.

LBJ said this:

America must move forward.

The time has come for Americans of all races and creeds and political beliefs to understand and to respect one another.

So let us put an end to the teaching and the preaching of hate and evil and violence.

Let us turn away from the fanatics of the far left and the far right, from the apostles of bitterness and bigotry, from those defiant of law, and those who pour venom into our Nation’s bloodstream.

As Mr. Lincoln put it in his December, 1862 Annual Address to Congress, “We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”

The Fourth of July, 1916 (The Greatest Display of the American Flag Ever Seen in New York, Climax of the Preparedness Parade in May) by Childe Hassam (1859-1935)

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